Autumn Pleasures – Velvet

Early 20th century velvet with golden pile © Managed by The Textiles Collection at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham. Photo from Visual Arts Data Service.

Velvet is such a lovely, sensuous fabric, particularly when it’s silk. The sheen and texture show off deep colors so richly. Burnout velvet is beautiful – I’d love to have a silk velvet burnout gown someday. (Fashionistas – is “burnout” the correct term?) I also like embroidered velvet; the lapel on the Schiaparelli jacket is wonderfully crafted.

Schiaperelli embroidered velvet jacket. Photo courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum.

My first velvet item of clothing was a velvet jumper (dress) that I wore over a white blouse. I’m pretty sure my grandmother gave it to me for Christmas when I was still in elementary school. These days, I have a pair of black velvet pants to wear to holiday parties – depending on the occasion, I wear a simple black cashmere sweater with one of my vintage brooches, or with a satin blouse and heels.

For Fall 2012, a number of designers used opulent fabrics in their collections; If you like luxe and opulence, see my friend Catherine’s post on trends. Velvet is my favorite luxury fabric, and I think it’s the perfect fall/winter fabric. Dolce & Gabbana’s black velvet embellished with gold is both elegant and fun.

Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign photo from

Dolce & Gabbana dress with gold embroidery. Photo from

I wasn’t familiar with Tadashi Shoji – I think his designs are beautifully feminine and luxurious – the drape of the red gown and the back decorated with lace is wonderful.

Tadashi Shoji gown. Photo from StyleBistro.

Back of Tadashi Shoji dresss. http://www.tadashisojicom

Ralph Lauren’s velvet three piece suit caught my eye. I can imagine wearing it with black patent leather derbies or velvet tuxedo slippers.

Photo from


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